Young Lions pull off upset with victory over Hougang
The Young Lions pulled off an upset yesterday as they defeated big spenders Hougang United 2-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Proving to be the fitter team, the Under-22 side pressed high and read the game well to repeatedly intercept passes from Hougang.
They deservedly went ahead in the 33rd minute when Syukri Bashir headed in a cross from Syed Firdaus Hassan.
The Cheetahs equalised in the 58th minute when defender Afiq Yunos headed in Zulfahmi Arifin's corner-kick.
But the Young Lions restored their one-goal advantage in the 70th minute. Hougang defender Jordan Vestering's clearance rebounded off Saifullah Akbar's out-stretched leg and went into the net.
To add to Hougang's misery, South Korean defender Kong Howon was sent off for a tackle from behind on Haiqal Pashia just three minutes later.
Hougang coach Clement Teo was visibly disappointed. "We were playing like kids and couldn't string passes together, " he said, referring to their first-half showing.
Young Lions coach Fandi Ahmad believes they had benefited from their recent overseas stint - a training camp in Japan before their Asian Football Confederation U-23 qualifying campaign in Mongolia.
He said: "They played against stronger opponents who were very physical... They adapted very well and brought it here.
"The plan (today) was to stop Faris (Ramli), Zulfahmi and Afiq, and the boys gave their all. With the high-pressing, they stopped Hougang and created a lot of chances. The intensity was high … and their discipline was at their best." - ADEENA NAGIB
YESTERDAY'S OTHER RESULT:
Balestier Khalsa 3 Geylang Int'l 0